Adidas and the single-use shoe saga
Last weekend, Adidas HQ were likely cracking out the champagne. Tigsit Assefa, from Ethiopia, smashed through the women’s marathon record by two minutes in Berlin wearing their running shoes.
The celebratory race photograph seen worldwide was not Assefa holding a trophy above her head. No, Assefa proudly punched the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 running shoe high into the air. The £400 shoe will go on sale in the UK shortly but Adidas failed to mention that they designed the shoe to last for just one race.
Currently, the online product description doesn’t reference single-use, so sustainability-conscious shoppers might only discover their mistake once they have bought the shoes. They have to open the shoebox to discover that the lightweight shoe has been designed for 'one race - so one marathon - plus familiarisation time.'
Adidas has been keen to tout its sustainability credentials. Its website claims that by 2025, “nine out of ten Adidas articles will be sustainable”. 8
But it is also symptomatic of a wider issue within the sports industry that places the marginal gains of minutes and seconds above environmental responsibility.